We thought things couldn’t get any better than living full-time in our beautiful Heartland Landmark fifth wheel. However, our decision of downsizing RVs allows us more nomadic adventures! And, our much smaller RV gives us access to places we could have never fit with our fifth wheel. While yes, we do miss the comforts of our former fifth wheel, downsizing RVs gives us many more opportunities to explore and visit off-the-beaten-path places in our tiny Winnebago View Class C motorhome.
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Downsizing RVs: From 42′ Fifth Wheel to 25′ Class C Motorhome
For over six years, we enjoyed fifth wheel living. But because its’ size, we were hindered by places we could park or camp. We were restricted to traveling only the main roads and highways. With that, we missed a lot of America’s hidden treasures via the backroads.
When we released our 2019 big reveal video, we were surprised by the amazing support of us downsizing our RV. And then, we were faced with a slew of questions that we felt we owed you, our readers and followers why we downsized so significantly.
Downsizing RVs from our big rig fifth wheel to our tiny Class C motorhome didn’t happen overnight. Nor was this decision to downsize an easy contemplation. In fact, it took a whole year from inception of the idea of downsizing RVs to actually signing papers on our new 25′ Winnebago View.
Before I go into why we chose to downsize, I’ll tell you a little about our fifth wheel.
Our Fifth Wheel: 2016 Heartland Landmark 365
Prior in late 2016, we traded in our Heartland 44′ Cyclone toy hauler in for our Heartland Landmark 365 in late 2016. The reason for downsizing but upgrading was due to us selling our two Harley Davidson motorcycles and seeking new adventures.
From stem to stern, our Landmark 365 “Ashland” model was 41′ 6″ to be exact. But we always rounded off to 42′ in length. The 365 in the Landmark 365 is Heartland’s identifier deeming it a full-time RV for warranty and insurance purposes.
Our Fifth Wheel Upgrades and Modifications
We also made our fifth wheel more boondocking capable. Our laundry list of upgrades and modifications to our fifth wheel enabled us to stay off the grid longer as well as improved efficiency and comfort.
Customizing our fifth wheel interior
Through the years of living in our fifth wheel, we completed several upgrades; making her more ‘ours’.
Since we work remotely, our need for an actual office was the first on the list. So, we removed the uncomfortable sleeper sofa (sold it); replacing it with a large table desk and two chairs. We, then ended up going all out with a complete interior makeover of our fifth wheel.
We personalized first by painting the interior, updating the flooring, and adding a unique backsplash. Finally, we focused on brightening the interior with some colorful accents and fun accessories. Our interior finishings gave that Margarita Key West vibe! It didn’t look like your typical RV inside. It was bright and beautiful with turquoise, aqua, lime green, melon orange and watermelon red! It was even featured in Battle Born Batteries’ commercial.
The Elephant in the Room
Since our solar panels and energy management system upgrades, we found ourselves boondocking off grid more. Not that I’m complaining, but sometimes, we just want to find a comfortable RV park or campground with hookups to enjoy air conditioning, long hot showers and cooking using all of my small kitchen appliances.
Even some of the places we yearned to boondock were inaccessible because our RV was just too big. We also experienced some space constraints at many Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome and even our friends or family’s driveways or land.
And lastly, when we were destined to visit certain landmarks or more touristy places, finding places to park our big fifth wheel became a challenge. Especially on the east coast, older campgrounds could barely accommodate or have enough spaces for big rig RVs like ours.
Our big fifth wheel became that elephant in the room. So, we both agreed we needed to change things up a bit.
Time to look into downsizing our RV
We started noticing some of our fellow RV nomads who were facing similar issues. They too, were downsizing to smaller travel trailers, truck campers, vans and smaller motorhomes.
Once we decided to downsize, we looked at every possible RV type out there. Since we are full-time RVers, we had to come to terms that our new smaller RV still needed the comforts of home. I mean, this is our home.
After a bit of research, some options we had considered simply would not work for us.
RV Downsizing Options
Small(er) Fifth Wheel
We love the spacious interior floor plans and storage concepts of the fifth wheels. However, even if we downsized to a smaller 5th wheel, we’d still have a large RV footprint when including our big Ram 3500.
And, as we experience while towing our two former fifth wheels, our dually was not an ideal vehicle for city touring. There were times we’d either have to forgo city slicking, rent a small car or use Uber or Lyft to get around.
Small(er) Travel Trailer
There are some amazing travel trailer floor plans on the market now. But we really didn’t want to deal with towing lightweight trailers.
And like the fifth wheel, we still would need ample space in front of the trailer to hitch thus requiring a longer site and space to hook and unhook.
Also, we didn’t want to trade our Ram 3500 in for a different truck simply because that truck would have been a bit of overkill for the job.
We seriously were looking into truck campers. Some of the most recent models have stunning living quarters.
However, as it seemed like a cool concept, it simply wasn’t going to work for our full-time RVing. One of us couldn’t really ride in the camper while the other drove. Others may do it; it just wasn’t for us. Just the whole thought of sitting high and feeling like we’d tip over wasn’t my idea of fun.
And let’s not forget our two traveling feline companions. The floor space in truck campers is so minimal as it is. They would not be happy getting their tails constantly stepped on. And, where would we put their kitty litter box, their food and water dishes?
But still, we’d have our big dual wheel Ram that we still wouldn’t be able to travel or park in high traffic locations.
You’ve probably noticed van life has taken RVing by storm. We considered how great it would be that we could literally park anywhere. It would be so easy to moochdock in any of our family, friend’s and shipmate’s driveways without their HOA’s getting their panties in a wad. And, we probably could even stealth camp without anyone really know we were even living in it.
But, hold your horses! There was absolutely no plausible way we were going to deal with a wet bath and eating a can of whatever every meal because the kitchens were just…so…small.
And, though the whole van down by the river may work for some, it would never work for us and our two Maine Coon cats. We need just a tad bit more space to live and still like each other at the end of each day.
Class A or Class C Motorhome
Seriously, the motorhome option was highest on our list. But we agreed to only look at motorized RV’s that are less than 27′. Why 27′ you ask?
Because it would still fit into National Park, State Park, and other smaller campgrounds. But also, for driving, mobility and comfort.
We had a few other requirements and expectations though. The motorhome had to have a Diesel engine, diesel generator, a decent size kitchen, dry bath and a queen size bed.
And lastly, the height profile had to be much shorter than our previous fifth wheel’s 13′ 4″. One of the purposes of downsizing our RV was to be able to travel the backroads which sometimes, that means we’d encounter low overpasses or tunnels.
But most of all, we wanted the instant mobility of literally jumping in the driver’s seat and turning the key. We wanted the mobility of a small motorhome but not have to sacrifice build quality and amenities. And, of course, a comfortable vehicle for our traveling kitties.
Networking with Like-Minded RVers
While we were deeply involved in researching our next RV, we reached out to our RV friends, Dan and Lindsay of Follow Your Detour, who own a small Class C Winnebago View.
Without appearing as stalkers, we followed their travels and how they dealt with living full-time in their 25′ motorhome with their two dogs. We were most interested in the amazing places their little RV was taking them and the places they parked.
When reaching out with many questions, I’m sure she understood the answers we were looking for weren’t going to be found on any forums, brochures or websites. We wanted to hear from real-world experiences. Having personally met Lindsay on the road, I knew we could trust her insight and opinions.
So, after sifting through our many pages of notes, we finally came to an amicable decision!
Our new Home…on Wheels!!
We were now on full throttle after downsizing from our RV fifth wheel Landmark for a new 2019 Winnebago View.
Our Winnebago View is considered a Compact Class C Motorhome. She measures 25′ 8″ from stem to stern and height of 11′. It’s built on a Mercedes Benz chassis, has full-body paint and came equipped with a fuel-efficient Cummins Onan diesel generator.
It also came with two 100-watt flex solar panels. It is also equipped with a Magnum 1000 inverter; same as what was in our fifth wheel.
Our Mini Moho (what we call it now) features a large 36 inch depth full wall slide that accommodates our dinette seating and table and an electric-powered Murphy bed with euro style design support system. Our refrigerator is a 12volt electric that runs off the our house batteries.
Check out our Winnebago View TOUR!
Any planned RV upgrades?
Now that we’ve downsized our RV, of course we’re making a list of RV upgrades and modifications.
We’ve already installed four of our six Battle Born lithium batteries from our fifth wheel into our Winnebago View. Soon, we will be installing more efficient solar panels and upgrade to a better and more efficient energy management system. And if we decide to get a toad, we’ll research what the best motorhome tow bar setup will be.
We also will be looking into upgrading our Class C motorhome’s suspension and leveling system. And, down the road, we will personalize our RV interior just like we did with our fifth wheel.
Toad or No Toad?
Lastly, we’ve been asked several times about if we will opt for a toad for our second vehicle. Right now, our plan is to get acquainted with our Mini Moho. It’s a lot to take in; transitioning from a fifth wheel to a motorized RV. We are acclimating to the whole tiny living and minimalism. Because, that’s exactly what it is….tiny. But eventually, we’ll no doubt, get a vehicle to tow or Jeep for exploring.
Here’s a great article on motorhome towing: Motorhome With a Toad Vehicle? Pros vs. Cons
Wrapping up downsizing RVs and why we did it
As I write this, we are relaxing at a Harvest Host winery in northwestern Pennsylvania and are enjoying our newfound mobility. We’re only two weeks into ownership and we’re really digging be able to ride in our RV with our kitties! By downsizing our RV has actually supersized our dreams and adventures!
Learning more about the 2019 Winnebago View 24D?
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